Through the Eyes of an Attendee

One of our greatest joys from hosting workshops is the people we have gotten to know over the years. I never imagined that so many diverse people would be drawn to our studio and what we do, but our studio has been filled with people from around the world and from every walk of life. They bring their unique stories, personalities, dreams, hopes, fears, insecurities and talents with them and they leave a lasting impact on me. Our intersecting journeys have enriched my life more than I could possibly put into words.

Steph Wall, the creative force behind Wallflower Studio, is one of these past attendees who has left a deep and lasting impression on me. She originally applied for a scholarship (which she didn’t get- sorry Steph) but then decided to make the investment to still come. She flew all the way from Australia to be part of our workshop. I’m humbled and blown away anytime someone chooses to come that type of distance to be with us. The workshop had a deep impact on her life, and she was generous enough to share her experience with us.

FROM STEPH:

“This June I flew to the US to attend the Sinclair and Moore Real Wedding Workshop in Seattle. Turning up on the first day I was honestly so nervous! This had been on my bucket list for so long, and now it was actually happening! There aren’t really adequate words to describe the surreal feeling of actually walking into that iconic workshop space for the first time. I held back tears and I couldn’t believe that I was really there! I made sure I took a moment to be still and present and soak it all in, but honestly, once I saw all the incredible flowers waiting for us I couldn’t stop grinning!

There was a real energy shift as soon as Steve arrived and the nerves really kicked in for me. After opening the most beautiful welcome gift boxes (seriously, the MOST beautiful!) Steve really encouraged us to be totally open and vulnerable and share our stories, our dreams and our struggles. This proved to be so pivotal for me as someone who has a tough time being vulnerable, I suddenly realised that I connected with and related to every other attendee there. All the nerves I had been feeling immediately fell away and there was almost a sense of family between this group of us that had only just met.

The immaculate Sinclair and Moore Instagram feed of perfect weddings and that beautiful family really don’t let you see how openly candid, authentic and hilarious Steve is. Our conversations felt more like I was chatting to an old friend, not this guy that I had followed and admired from afar for so many years. His approach to his business, his clients and even his competition is completely refreshing, enlightening and completely inspiring as well. Getting the opportunity to work on a real wedding is so unique as far as workshops go and having an abundance of beautiful flowers at our disposal was not lost on any of us. The end results were so incredibly beautiful that we all cried when the Bride arrived!

The workshop not only taught me some excellent new practical skills but it taught me so much about myself. That was something I was not expecting and it opened up so much for me personally, it has been truly life changing and the flow on effect from that has been so incredible and so surprising in the most excellent way. For anyone who might be sitting on the fence and not sure if it will be worth investing the money in a Sinclair and Moore workshop, I can tell you honesty that I would do it again in a heartbeat, without a second of hesitation. It’s true that investing in yourself is so important. Attending the workshop changed everything for me and I am so grateful. I left with a new group of international friends, a new sense of purpose, feeling reenergised and inspired to drive my business forward. “

Thanks Steph for taking the time to write about your experience!

Since that workshop Steph attended 5 months ago, she has flown back to the United States twice to continue learning from us and working in the studio on some of our major weddings. She has become a dear friend that we consider part of our family. Like I said at the start of this blog post… the connections that we have made with people is absolutely the biggest highlight and greatest joy of hosting these workshop.

We hope to meet you, welcome you into our studio, hear your story and get to know you this year at one of our workshops! Registration launched yesterday and the courses are starting to fill up! Make sure to snag a seat! Early bird pricing and payment plans available! Click here to check out all of the details!

photos: Ryan Flynn Photography 

4/40

This is Thirty-Nine

Today I turn thirty-nine. THIRTY-NINE! How did this happen? As I approached my last year in my thirties I found myself reflecting, re-centering, goal setting and dreaming for the future. I had planned to call this post ‘Forty Before Forty’ and share a list of things that I want to accomplish before my next birthday… things that are both big and small, some easy and some risky, things that are meaningful and some that are just for fun. But as I was writing this post, I decided to hit the pause button on my ambitions today.

You see, as I worked from upstairs in our home, there was a lot going on downstairs. I could hear the excitement in my son’s voice and his squeal of delight as he was working hard to decorate the house for my birthday. I could smell the cake that my wife was baking for me. I could feel the vibration from the pounding on the floors as my daughter jumped her way around the house. These sounds and smells reminded me of what a beautiful life I’d already been given, and of all the good and joy that surrounds me. I couldn’t help but just stop, be still and take it all in.

Don’t get me wrong… I still have my list of ‘Forty Before Forty’ and I want this last year in my thirties to be intentional, focused and disciplined… but today I added to the top of my list to live each day with joy and gratitude no matter what the day may bring.

Thirty-nine… let’s do this! We’re coming for you Forty!

These photos were taken by Katie Delorme this summer in my in-laws backyard while we shot our new online course with the team from Once Wed and If I Made! Huge thanks to Jamie and my mother in law Gail for making all of the pies, and to Cozbi for all of her creative assistance while we did this scene for the online course!

And while I chose not share my ‘Forty before Forty’ list today, I will say that one of my goals is to post 40 blog posts in the next year. Putting it out there so I can stay on track and be held accountable to it! So here is 1/40. Hope you guys follow along this year to see how this unfolds!

Our Family Christmas

It’s no secret… We love celebrating big, and the holidays are no exception to that! I know it’s popular these days to slow down and simplify everything so you don’t lose sight of what Christmas is all about, but we have loved filling our days with holiday activities, creating new traditions and watching our kids truly enjoy the magic of the season. We thought it would be fun to give you a peek into our holiday home and share some of the traditions, old and new, that are special to our little family.

Part 1: Trimming the Tree

I’ve always loved decorating for Christmas. Even as a college student I chose to spend my money on Christmas decorations rather than buying required text books for classes; a decision I still fully stand behind! With every tree we set up and every garland we hang, the joy of the season seems to fill our home even more.

One of our traditions is to hand-make the garland on our tree. Over the years we have done everything from paper chains to even making a garland out of paper clips and fancy tape! This year we chose to make a classic popcorn garland. While slightly tedious, we found it relaxing and enjoyable, especially with a holiday movie playing in the background. If you want to give this garland a try here are a few tips we learned along the way: Pop your popcorn the day before you want to make the garland, so it can become stale and more styrofoam like. This makes the popcorn more firm and less likely to crumble. Use a sharp needle threaded with fishing line, and only work with four to five foot sections at a time. Also, make sure to leave enough fishing line at the end of each garland section so you can tie the ends together as you place it on the tree. It takes a little bit of patience, but it really was fun to see it all come together.

Part 2: A Tree of Their Own

I love having multiple trees throughout our home. When Jamie and I lived in a 632 square foot apartment, I somehow managed to squeeze eight Christmas trees into that tiny space. Out of control? Maybe a little, but the more the merrier right? With that mindset, we added a new tradition this year of decorating small trees for each of our kids in their own room. Grey has decorated, undecorated and redecorated his tree more times than I can count, and I just love watching his creativity blossom. He picked out his own ornaments and has clear opinions about where each one should be placed. I think we have a budding wedding designer on our hands!

London’s tree is filled with everything pink and girly to match her room. Each time we turn on the tree lights when she wakes up, she’ll wave and point to her tree and say “wow”. So until she has a voice and an opinion to tell us otherwise, we are really enjoying all the pink that has entered our home since she was born!

Part 3: All Decked Out 

In the same way that we deck the halls for the holiday and make our home a little fancy, we also love to get a little dressed up throughout the season. While I fear some might think this is pretentious, that is really not our heart behind it. Dressing up is not something that happens on a normal day, so getting all decked out feels special and makes this time of year feel even more extraordinary.

We started yet another new tradition this year. Every year we are going to get dressed up and head to downtown Seattle for a family date. This year we went to an interactive concert for little kids at the Seattle Symphony and then we stayed at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel where we visited the Teddy Bear Suite, enjoyed a classic holiday tea in the Georgian Room and then visited Santa. It was such a special day for our family and the start of a beautiful tradition I am excited to see unfold each year. I think my favorite part was when Grey discovered that his personal tea sandwich tower also had macarons on it, he declared at the top of his lungs (for all to hear!) “It’s a macaron Da-Da!”  Meanwhile my 10 month old baby quietly sat next to me delighted to be eating her own scone.

We also continued our annual tradition of hosting a dress up holiday party. I started doing this in college for all of my friends. Instead of studying for my finals, I would spend the week baking and preparing for my big Christmas party at the end of the week. I loved spoiling them with abundant food, desserts and drinks. It was my gift to my friends, and a way to cultivate a deeper sense of community by using my talents and passions to serve the people I love and care about. Eighteen years later, our holiday party looks a little different, but the heart and purpose behind it has not changed and it remains one of my favorite holiday traditions that I look forward to each year.

In keeping with the tradition I mentioned earlier in this post, we also made our lunaria garlands. I’ve been a bit obsessed with lunaria as of late; I love how natural it is while still feeling ethereal and whimsical. I had a pile of it left over from a wedding, so I decided to put it to good use in our home for the holidays. We created the garlands by cutting down the lunaria bundles into smaller bundles, and then taping them together with classic masking tape. We then taped those little lunaria bundles to a long piece of wire, overlapping one bundle on top of the next until we reached the length we needed. This was also a bit tedious and time consuming, but worth the results. We didn’t put many ornaments on our tree this year as we loved the statement of simplicity that the lunaria made.

Part 4: Let Them Eat Cake… and cookies and every other treat! (in moderation of course)

We love to bake. It’s almost therapeutic to me… well until I see all of the dishes I need to wash! During the holidays, we make marshmallows, caramels, pies, cakes in addition to rolling out countless sugar cookies and gingerbread men. Another yearly tradition for us is to host our friends for a cookie making party. It might take months to clean up the last of the sprinkles that fall to the floor, but it is totally worth it for the joy that comes from what we create together!

This year we are sharing our soft gingerbread cookie recipe. It is absolutely the best! You can control how crisp your cookies become by adjusting how long you bake them, so make sure to experiment with your first round! You also need to think ahead. This recipe is best when you let the dough rest in the fridge overnight before rolling them out. I have found this to be the perfect recipe for the holidays and we hope you enjoy it too!

Whatever your traditions may be and no matter what holidays you choose to celebrate, our family wishes you a season filled with joy, love, laughter and perhaps a few gingerbread cookies.

photos: Alanna Maria Photography

calligraphy and recipe design: LaHappy

download and print our gingerbread cookie recipe